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The Subtle Reference To Shang-Chi You Likely Missed In Ms. Marvel Episode 3

Contains mild spoilers for "Ms. Marvel" Episode 3, "Destined"

Disney+ series "Ms. Marvel" has, thus far, been a fascinating and fun little experiment for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rather than focusing on big, potentially world-ending stakes, the Phase 4 television show embraces more of a coming-of-age outlook while introducing a new hero into the mix. Its titular character, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), is a high school student who idolizes superheroes, especially Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). After her grandmother mails a box of family heirlooms that includes a bangle, Kamala discovers this unassuming piece of jewelry is magical and grants her powers — namely, the ability to manipulate cosmic energy and create a substance she and best friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) call "hard light." There's also the revelation that the bangle Kamala finds is somehow related to her great-grandmother, Aisha (Mehwish Hayat), making "Ms. Marvel" something of a deep dive into her family's past and what that could potentially mean for her future. 

Episode 3, titled "Destined," expands on these key plot points in big ways. Kamala struggles with what her newfound powers mean for her and her future and if it's worth it to be a superhero if it means bringing more suffering to her family and community at large. These are important issues that will continue to inform her growth as a character. Even with all of these important plot points, however, the latest episode of "Ms. Marvel" also managed to include a subtle reference to another MCU project: "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

Ms. Marvel features a visual reference to the Ten Rings

In the opening scene of "Ms. Marvel" Episode 3, the show treats viewers to a flashback to British-occupied India in the year 1942. This sequence reveals how Aisha discovers the magical bangle, which she and her friends — including Kamran's (Rish Shah) mother, Najma (Nimra Bucha) — are searching for. Additionally, there's an aerial shot of the temple where Aisha and Najma find the bangle that reveals the Ten Rings organization's logo (pointed out by Twitter user @Marvfess), which is clearly a reference to "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings." The symbol appears frequently in that film as a logo for the villainous organization. Sure, it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but it's a fun little visual cue that ties "Ms. Marvel" to the larger MCU in potentially big ways.

The organization itself previously appeared first in "Iron Man" as the group responsible for kidnapping Tony Stark and returned in "Iron Man 3," where the group was re-introduced through Trevor Slattery's (Ben Kingsley) campaign of terror while he posed as Ten Rings leader The Mandarin. In "Shang-Chi," it is revealed that the titular character's father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), was the true leader of the Ten Rings and, thanks to the long life bestowed by the rings, he was able to oversee the organization for centuries. Given Wenwu's lengthy lifespan, it's entirely possible that he was behind the construction of the temple that viewers see in the opening scene of the latest "Ms. Marvel" episode, though it would be interesting to discover exactly why it was built. Was it made to contain the bangle and even other magical objects or for some other purpose? 

For now, it remains a mystery, but MCU fans will no doubt have plenty of time to speculate and theorize. "Ms. Marvel" airs new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.